Cinematographers protest Oscar's decision to remove category from live show

Just yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling would take place during the commercial breaks of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony. The four categories will be edited into a package to be aired later in the telecast and will also be streamed online via Oscar.com, and Academy president John Bailey said that the executive committees of six branches "generously" consented to having their awards presented in this manner. Despite that generosity, it's obvious that not everyone is pleased by the decision, and Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, released a letter today which slammed the Academy's choice.

Dear members of the ASC,

Yesterday afternoon the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that the Best Cinematography presentation — as well as the awards for Film Editing, Live-Action Short and Make-up and Hair Styling — would not be broadcast live but presented in a delayed and edited version during the televised Oscar ceremony. This decision was apparently made in order to shorten the length of the Academy Awards broadcast.

After receiving many comments on this matter from ASC members, I think I speak for many of them in declaring this a most unfortunate decision. We consider filmmaking to be a collaborative effort where the responsibilities of the director, cinematographer, editor and other crafts often intersect. This decision could be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, thus minimizing our fundamental creative contributions.

The Academy is an important institution that represents our artistry in the eyes of the world. Since the organization’s inception 91 years ago, the Academy Awards have honored cinematographers’ talent, craft and contributions to the filmmaking process, but we cannot quietly condone this decision without protest.

Kees van Oostrum
ASC President

"The decision can only be seen as a diminution of our contribution," Van Oostrum said Variety. "It’s absolutely the wrong message. My phone has been ringing off the hook. It also diminishes the contribution of editors, with whom we collaborate very closely."

Several directors have voiced their support on Twitter to the categories affected, including Guillermo del Toro (THE SHAPE OF WATER) and Alfonso Cuaron (ROMA).

Guillermo del Toro also posted an update on Twitter with an important clarification from the Academy Awards, which said, "No one is being removed from either the in-theater or the ABC live broadcast. This year, in a voluntary rotation that will change each year, four awards will be given live in an uninterrupted progression--- as always--They will be slightly edited off-line in the trailer (such as the walk up from seat to stage)--- as has been done for years with the Tony broadcast—and then placed live into the ongoing show. It should be seamless and most viewers won’t notice." I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out. The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 24th.

Source: Variety



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